The debate of the NBA MVP


Jake Russell and Alex Lawrence

As the National Basketball Association (NBA) regular season comes to a close, the race for Most Valuable Player (MVP) tightens after every game. At the end of the season, the three finalists are revealed by a global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. This season, the three finalists included Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, and Joel Embiid from the Philadelphia 76ers. This is the first time since 2014 that there has been no guards in the NBA MVP finalist list. For Giannis, this is his third time appearing as an MVP finalist. For Nikola Jokic, this is his second year in a row. Lastly, for Joel Embiid and his second time in this MVP race. So who should win this award? Let’s break down every player’s chance to win the award.

First off, Giannis Antetokounpo who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks has been an outstanding player all season long. His monumental statline consists of 30.0 points per game (PPG), 11 rebounds per game (RPG), and 5.2 assists per game (APG). “One thing you need for an MVP is your team needs to be good, at least a five seed in your conference,” eighth grader Olivier Paul declared. 

Giannis has doubtlessly accomplished that task, as the Milwaukee Bucks finalized the season with a 51-31 record which led them to be third in the Eastern Conference. As of April 26, 2022, the Bucks are currently leading 3-1 in a battle against the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs. Giannis has a great deal of experience in big games, Giannis has made the playoffs every year since 2017. Giannis has also proved time and time again that he can lead his team through the playoffs and was an astonishing leader of the Milwaukee Bucks, which is why he is once again a prominent candidate for the NBA MVP. But how does he match up against these other finalists for the award? 

Next, Nikola Jokic, center from the Denver Nuggets has proved for back to back seasons now why he should be considered a top five player in the entire league. After being crowned the MVP last year, Jokic put the league on notice with his creative playstyle along with being a seven footer, I mean when was the last time you saw a seven foot player run an offense like Jokic does. This season, Jokic recorded a statline of 27.1 PPG, 13.8 RPG, and 7.9 APG.

Jokic led his team to the sixth seed in the Western Conference which is quite exceptional. However, Jokic and the Nuggets were dismantled by the Golden State Warriors in five games in the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs. Nikola Jokic has been stellar all year carrying his team from victory to victory, the Denver Nuggets completed the season with a 48-34 record. In addition, Jokic is going to become the first player ever to score 2000 points, 1000 rebounds and 500 assists in a season. Jokic is looking forward to a back to back MVP award this season. Jokic’s one of one skill set has single handedly taken the Nuggets a step close to the promise land.

Furthermore, Joel Embiid, center from the Philadelphia 76ers has perfected his craft in the post as the modern NBA’s most dominant big man. He is truly the closest thing we’ve seen to NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon. The 7-foot athletic phenom has a very strong case to be this year’s NBA MVP. The Joel Embiid led Philadelphia 76ers finished fourth in the NBA’s Eastern Confrence. Also to acknowledge that Embiid is one of four players to average above 30 points per game and 11 rebounds per game. Embiid has truly mastered his offensive game being able to score at all three levels. Embiid is the first center in 22 years to win the NBA Scoring title. Embiid and the Sixers just advanced in the first round of the NBA playoffs after thrashing the Toronto Raptors seeking a NBA title. 

To wind it up, after hearing about all of these historic seasons from these historical players, who do you think should win MVP? Should Jokic win back to back MVPs? Should Giannis win his second, or should Embiid raise the trophy for the first time in his career? We will leave it up to you guys to decide!